Debbie's SC garden

Hello Nicky,

I just finished the initial survey for the GIY program. It was hard to choose from the different options as there were times that more than one option was applicable to my situation.

I would love to be able to teach the kids how to garden with me. Especially my two little ones that are soon to be 8 and 5. The 16 year old is also interested in learning to garden.

As far as problems, I'm not sure where would be safe to garden. Close to the house, where I would eventually like to have my herb garden, peppers and tomatoes there is paint that peeled off of the house where we pressure washed it. I guess we could grow in containers. Also, one of the sunniest places available is near the street. I'm not sure if pesticides, etc. might get washed into the ground there.

I am so excited to get started with the GIY program!

Thank you so much for your generosity,
Debbie Reeves

Pesticide: I would test your soil first to be sure that there are no pesticides. Even if you run a very basic soil test, it can tell you if there's a lot of good organic matter in there. Interpreting your soil test is found in the course. (This will be in the About Soil Testing lesson in the Garden Installation Module). Once you are certain about no pesticides in your lawn, then you can most definitely roast dandelion root into a diuretic and anti-diabetic, gut-cleansing tea! You can also eat the young leaves raw. And all parts of the dandelion are edible. I also encourage you to research half-life for pesticides used in your lawn.

Kids Gardening: There are templates in the course for Kids Gardens so watch out for those (also in Garden Installation).


  • Nicky, your thoughts on this? Purchased potato slips, garlic and onion starts vs plant your pantry and increased risk of disease.

  • So, I had heard someone that was teaching online say that they had a friend who grew potatoes that were from their pantry and ended up not being able to grow potatoes in that soil for years afterward because of some kind of potato disease that got into the soil. How important is it then to invest in things like potato slips? Is this not an issue, or maybe much less of an issue if you're inoculating the soil with beneficial fungi and steering clear of monoculture?

    I ask because some of what I'm planting this year is definitely from my pantry. ; )

  • Hey Nicky, I have figured out how I want the walkways placed in the bed, but need help figuring out distances from one plant to another. Is there somewhere that tells me how close to plant things to one another? I know that I can look up distances on seed packets, but I also know that many people prefer to plant them much closer together. Also, here are the plants I have and the functions that I know of...

    Tomato- centerpiece
    Bell pepper- centerpiece
    Mint- groundcover and/or suppressor (not really quite sure on the difference), repeller
    Bee balm- repeller, attractor
    oregano- groundcover, repeller
    bush beans- nitrogen fixer
    black beans- nitrogen fixer
    strawberries- groundcover, accumulator?
    garlic- suppressor, repeller
    green onions- suppressor, repeller
    cucumbers- mulch?
    I also have muskmelon seed (mulch?)
    Malabar spinach-don't know the function as I will be trellising it

    I don't know how much of this I can realistically fit in that bed once I have the walkways in place.


  • So, after having a good deal of time to work in the yard today, I realized that probably my biggest obstacle in the garden (as far as I can forsee) will be bugs and invasive plants. While we do have a bit of yard that is pretty much clear a good bit of the property that the house is on is wooded. This means that the poison ivy, virginia creeper, English ivy, greenbriar, etc. has made its way into the areas that are not wooded. There is one spot in particular that I think would be nice for a garden that has tree stumps and poison ivy. I tried to clear out as much of the virginia creeper as I could. I don't mind the work, but the last time I had a reaction to poison ivy it was pretty bad. That has been awhile ago, but still, I want to be careful.

    Also, my sister in law is severely allergic to poison ivy. She said that as she researched she found out that the residual oils from the plant can remain in the ground for up to 10 years. If that is the case, I'm afraid I will need to give up on an eventual food forest set up and keep the area I mentioned previously for growing flowers that are not edible.

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